Depression in young people is a serious problem that can lead to lifelong poor mental health and stigma. Depression is reported in around 20% of under 18s, and over half continue to be depressed into adulthood. Problems include difficulties at home and school, maintaining friendships and taking part in social activities, including exercise. Young people with depression often delay seeking psychological support. Antidepressants can help, but they have negative side effects. Research shows that adults with depression benefit from exercise, but it is not known whether exercise is helpful for young people who are depressed. The aim of this study is to find out whether exercise is an effective treatment for young people with depression and whether it is good value for money for the NHS.
The Ready Trial aims to investigate whether: exercise is an effective treatment for young people with depression; the intensity level makes a difference; whether it is good value for money for the NHS.
The study will be conducted in three phases over 56 months:
In the first feasibility phase (18 months), we will recruit 81 young people (27 per area) from Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk to test the recruitment of young people, attendance and exercise achieved, completion of questionnaires and the experience of participation in exercise and the research process. This will help us improve the study design and feasibility.
We will then conduct a pilot phase over 8 months in 8 locations with 150 young people in total. This phase will test whether the intervention and study design are working as intended.
The main trial will be completed over 30 months, in 8 locations, with 130 young people in each location (N=1044) to test effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
This study is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA 17/78/10). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.